Our Dream Gap Year Trip Come True! Thaniel L.
A bit about me..
My name is Thaniel, and I am the youngest in my family (19), with three older brothers. My brothers were part of my inspiration to travel, as one is currently exploring Canada while the other lived abroad in the UK. I hail from Newcastle, Australia, which, in my opinion, boasts the most beautiful beaches in the world. Always having a desire to travel, I opted for a gap year before university.
As of June, my partner Amy and I have been living in Salford, Milton Keynes, in the UK for just over three months. It's a 30-minute train ride to London, meeting our ideal criteria of being close to such an amazing city to explore on our days off. We assumed flights from this region would be reasonably priced for travelling to Europe, and we were right! We have been amazed by the accessibility of countries just a two-hour flight away from London. We're constantly on the lookout for the cheapest flights for our next adventure.
In the past three months, we've been fortunate enough to visit Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Spain, and Poland. Though our trips have been relatively short due to work constraints, we make the most of our two days off together. Every country has been absolutely amazing, but personally, Italy has been the most breathtaking. We embarked on a four-day road trip from Milan to Lake Como, Venice, Florence, and along the coast, stopping at Manarola. The scenic drive, especially along the coast, was terrific. I highly recommend a road trip in Italy to explore and stop wherever you like. Our forthcoming trip is in two weeks to the Greek island of Santorini, and we couldn't be more excited. We have an entire week planned for activities there.
We both work at a delightful gastropub called the Swan, which we love. Engaging with the pub regulars has allowed us to build relationships with the locals. Working behind the bar has been a lot of fun, even though I initially didn't expect to enjoy it. Being a server is also enjoyable as it allows for conversations with customers that aren't always possible behind the bar. People enjoy talking to us about how we ended up here and what our plans are, easily picking up on our accents. Salford is a unique part of Milton Keynes, a quiet and comfortable village that contrasts with the city's reputation. We live in standard living quarters above the pub, which we've turned into our home, helping us feel more comfortable and less homesick. We also have a friendly roommate who lives with us above the pub.
I'm so glad we decided to take a gap year before university. There's so much to see and do here, and we feel incredibly fortunate to have experienced what we have seen so far and what lies ahead. We plan to make the most of every travel opportunity, as we may never get such an opportunity again.